Leader, Who Helps You Doubt Well?

What an intriguing question! It's not mine. It comes from a short article in the Wall Street Journal entitled "Four Key Questions for CEO's." But it applies equally well for managers who lead at all levels of their organization. If you are taking your unit anywhere that is challenging you must come to terms with the twin postures of confidence and uncertainty. Both are part of your world. And the more you push the envelop, the more you bring about change, the more exposed you become to your … [Read more...]

Do Good and Poor Bosses Clone Themselves?

When I train or coach front line supervisors, I am struck how often they are unable to think of a good manager for whom they have worked. It is so much easier to learn and then apply good management skills when you have someone in mind who has actually demonstrated them with you. ("How would Jennifer handle this employee? What would Frank do in this situation? What I remember Amanda said to turn her team around was… ") But does this mean that the leaders you have worked for in your career … [Read more...]

For a Manager, Hope IS a Strategy

Former New York City mayor Rudi Guiliani is credited for that now oft repeated line, "Hope is not a strategy." But when he, like any good leader in a crisis, painted a picture for New Yorkers of rising up from the September 11 devastation, rebuilding the lower Manhattan skyline, and healing the city's wounded soul, Mr. Mayor was dispensing hope. And well he should have. It was the right strategy.   Why do I say this? Because hope is what professor Richard Boyatzis calls a "positive … [Read more...]

Don’t Forget the “Why” in Your Mission Statement

A colleague of mine, Gwen Kinsey, led a crisp, interactive presentation at a recent leadership breakfast event. The topic was about how mission statements engage (or not) your employees. Gwen's session drove home a point for me and I'd like to share it here. She put us in small groups and handed out two mission statements, one to half the groups, the other to the other half. Our task was to read the mission we were given and find connections between it and what we value highly. It turned out … [Read more...]

Teleworkers Perform But Do They Rise?

The typical teleworker in the US is a 49 years old, university educated, salaried individual in a management or professional role, says the Telework Research Network. Some of these just love the opportunity to indulge themselves through the satisfaction of doing knowledge or creative work that both engages them and challenges them. But many of them also want career advancement. They want to get ahead. This is where an interesting article from Talent Management Magazine enters the picture. It … [Read more...]

Book Review: To Sell is Human

"We're all in sales" says author Daniel Pink. In fact, in a Gallup study people reported spending 40% of their time working in what Pink calls "non-sales selling," convincing/influencing/moving people to decide or do that does not involve anyone making a purchase. Dan Pink is always intriguing. Let's look at a few things his book has to say that apply to managers. In my experience, the higher a manager is in the hierarchy, the more frequently he/she engages in non-sales selling and the higher … [Read more...]

Three Intriguing Thoughts from Amazon’s Jeff Bezos

A recent HBR blog podcast interviewed the CEO of Amazon who, in a major study reported in the Harvard Business Review's Jan/Feb issue, was ranked #2 of global CEO's. The late Steve Jobs was #1. Jeff Bezos is an intriguing guy. He permits interviews sparingly and is somewhat of a contrarian around some commonly held business beliefs. In the short audio, Bezos makes three points that I think are worth CEO's and managers hearing about. He sees the DNA of Amazon as that of an explorer, vs. a … [Read more...]

The Numbers Are Coming

The October 2012 issue of Harvard Business Review features "Big Data" as the theme. There are a number of articles of import for those leaders whose enterprise has access to large amounts of data–operational, market, what have you. They look at where the data is coming from, the increasing role it is playing in business decision-making, how to use it wisely, and how to identify the metrics that best represent your operations and your market environment. They even have a piece on the hottest job: … [Read more...]

At the Heart of Development, Awareness

A manager I was coaching recently explained (away) the behavior of one of his supervisors: "He isn't an angry person. He means well. It's just that he's often sharp with people. And sometimes they take it the wrong way. He's really a good worker. I've told him that people can be intimidated by him, so he knows he sometimes comes across this way." But does he really know this? He may acknowledge it in his head but does he recognize it when he is being curt, or better yet, just before he is … [Read more...]

Change Your Words, Change Their Minds

I continue to be amazed by that fundamental truth about living: how we choose to see a situation dictates the choices we–and others–make about it. Take a look at this 2-minute clip that demonstrates it better than any more words I can write. You will be glad you did. How you choose to deliver feedback on an employee's performance will have a huge impact on how he/she responds to your message…acceptance, in the spirit of learning, denial, as a victim, or angry counter attack. How you … [Read more...]